The Psychology of Knowledge

Among the most influential theories of knowledge is empiricism or empirical knowledge, Empiricism was developed as a theory to describe scientific or observational knowledge. So empirical knowledge is knowledge gained via observation or by use of the senses. This is the method of scientific inquiry as you use observation or the power of the senses to derive knowledge. Scientific experimentation uses the observational method and the experimental method or analysis is finally based on the senses. What you see, hear, touch, smell or taste helps in gaining knowledge. But is this the ultimate or only knowledge? No, because our senses are limited. So knowledge gained from scientific data could be limited.

Another form of knowledge is knowledge gained through rational analysis or logic. Logical analysis is what you do when you reach a logical conclusion from a set of data or principles. For example, when you have symptoms of high temperature, headaches, weakness etc, you come to a logical analysis that you are ill. When you see an overcast sky, black clouds and predictions of rain on the television, you come to a logical analysis that it will rain and you must carry your umbrella or raincoat. We consider certain premises or factors, try to understand their interrelationships and then reach logical conclusions. So, rational analysis is also a method of knowledge because you use facts or factors to know something or derive a conclusion.

Experientialism is experiential knowledge or knowledge derived from experience. The term was first propagated by Lakoff and Johnson in 1980. Experientialism is experiential knowledge, so it is possible to suggest that we actively analyze our experiences to derive knowledge and understanding from these experiences. You know from your experience that an aircraft accelerates its speed on the runway before takeoff, or that soaking in the rain may give you chills. You know from your experience that your dog will greet you excitedly when you reach home but your wife may not be too excited. This is experiential knowledge.. Experiential Knowledge is important in understanding the Psychology of Knowledge as human experiences are at the core of many psychological theories, including psychoanalysis.

Knowledge is often gained from an obvious source – books. I call this literalism or literal analysis as this may not be related to critical or literary analysis, but a literal analysis of what you have read or understood. Books, papers,internet sources and the written word help us to gain significant knowledge about the world. This is what we can describe as literary or literal analysis and the process of gaining knowledge is literalism. We are either critical of what we read or we accept what we read. Either way, we learn and gain knowledge from all reading sources and this is an important method of acquiring knowledge. When you systematically study the Psychology of Human Knowledge, you must consider how the individual acquired knowledge from books, papers, internet or other sources. The knowledge acquired during adolescent or young adult years is very significant, as this will shape the mind and create or influence thinking. So, when you are studying the mind of a terrorist, try to understand what reading sources may have influenced him. Some people are more influenced by what they read, rather than what they experience or hear. The power of the book or the internet is immense. Reading creates beliefs and there may not be any rational explanation as to why certain people believe in certain things although reading greatly influences thinking.

This type of knowledge is about inner knowing or happens due to the internal processing of the knowledge already embedded in us. Plato, Greek philosophers, other ancient philosophers and prophets have repeatedly emphasized the knowledge of the soul. Internal analysis is about knowledge that already exists within us or knowledge that we are born with. Call it the Jungian collective unconscious or call it the soul, internal analysis is about gaining access to the knowledge embedded deep within us. So this is the innate knowledge or wisdom and one of the most important types of knowledge that could be considered a priori or not acquired through observation or experience. To understand innate knowledge, psychologists must study wisdom and the soul knowledge of prodigies. Some prodigies are born with a powerful soul or innate knowledge and show their remarkable abilities only a few years after birth. Studying the talents and wisdom of prodigies would provide significant insights on the soul knowledge of human beings. Nurturing this knowledge would be essential to developing talents in children and wisdom in adults.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *